Calgary

Rural Albertan, alleged burglar charged after shots fired near Okotoks

Both an Alberta man accused of firing gunshots and the alleged burglar at the centre of an altercation south of Calgary on the weekend are facing charges.

Edouard Maurice facing charges of aggravated assault, pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm

Police have arrested a rural property owner and a suspected thief after shots were fired early Saturday. (CBC)

Both an Alberta man accused of firing gunshots and an alleged burglar at the centre of an altercation south of Calgary on the weekend are facing charges.

Police were called to the property near Okotoks, Alta., about 5 a.m. Saturday when a number of shots were fired after the homeowner saw someone rummaging through his vehicles

Two people fled the scene but one suspect suffering an arm injury was located soon after.

On Monday, police said in a release that homeowner Edouard Maurice now faces charges of aggravated assault, pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm.

Maurice was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court again March 9.

Police say Ryan Watson, the injured man, was arrested upon being released from hospital Sunday and is facing several charges:

  • Trespassing by night.
  • Mischief to property.
  • Theft under $5,000 from motor vehicle.
  • Possession of methamphetamine.
  • Two counts of failure to comply with probation.

Police are still looking for a second suspect in the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call Okotoks RCMP at 403-995-6400 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Okotoks is about 50 kilometres south of Calgary.

Crime spike seen in rural Alberta

Rural property crime is a growing issue across the Prairies. 

Last fall, Alberta's Opposition called for an emergency debate in the legislature to deal with rural crime. The subject also came up following this month's acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer in the shooting death of an Indigenous man on his property.

But police are urging people not to pursue or engage with suspicious individuals and to instead immediately report incidents.

"We encourage property owners to not attempt to pursue or subdue any suspects, with the main reason, public safety. We don't want to see people getting hurt," Sgt. Shawn French said Sunday.

"We're trained to handle these situations. We do treat them as priority calls and we try to get there in as most expeditious manner as possible."

With files from The Canadian Press